The prerequisites of my panic attacks
This is one of the methods of therapy – where a person tells about what is worrying him or her at the moment, what disturbed him/her in the past; in this way deep fears are released and the nervous system becomes less tense. Thanks to this methodic the same thoughts that circle in the head over and over gradually disappear or become insignificant, trivial. And for you as my reader after you learn how to deal with panic attacks I also strongly recommend to write down on a piece of paper or print on your screen the intrinsic in your opinion deepening causes of panic attacks. What are you worrying about and what does not let you calm down for years. Be sincere with yourself, no one will see these notes unless you wish – they are just for you and they will help. In a word – write your notes the same way as I wrote below.
Panic attacks do not begin without reason just by themselves. They are preceded by a set of factors. There is a lot of – insecurity, sensitivity to external stimuli, dissatisfaction with your life, fears, anxieties – everything that causes us discomfort and makes us live in constant stress, which we can not even notice. Yes, CONSTANT stress is hard to notice at first. In addition to this, we increase our anxiety with the pike emotional states, we try to solve the problems with help of alcohol which in the course of time only undermines our nervous system further; the same with cigarettes which we think help us relax but actually they excite our nervous system making it work in “extra mode” which is totally unacceptable for you at the moment. And finally comes the moment when the nervous system is on the verge of exhaustion and is reacting to stress by panic attack. The rope has to break somewhere. Often, the first panic attack occurs after a severe stressful situation – the quarrel, the death of a close relative, break up with loved ones and also very often on the second day after a large amount of alcohol on the eve – that’s because alcohol brings a lot of stress to nervous system and if it is exhausted, untrained or sensitive or all taken together – the probability that the panic attack happens is quite large.
Of course, factors that preceded the development of my panic attacks were present, but I did not understand it at that time and for me they were not obvious. First of all, this is internal dissatisfaction with oneself. At a certain point I did not achieve in life what I wanted, although I studied well at school and had good results at the university, I knew a few foreign languages, but did not find descent job in my profession after I graduated so I went to work as a seller in shop of home appliances. Neither me nor my parents did not like it, but that was a job. Here I learned how to communicate with different people. I acquired additional skills, even learned how to repair mobile phones, how to connect and provide the Internet, how to install satellite TV and although this is also a part of knowledge and development, it’s not something I wanted and internal dissatisfaction was present.
In fact, here I also got personal development, but my problem was in my personal attitude to the situation – why I was here, why I did not reach more, why my group mates are doing that and stuff and I am here; what other people who know me will think about me? – such irritate thoughts I used to have. In fact, people do not really care, they are busy with their own problems – and what you are and who you are depends only on you and the thoughts in your head. I did not understand that year ago. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed at such work, but I thought I can’t find another one because it is little town. Especially embarrassed I was when one of the teachers or former classmates came to the store where I was working and I was standing behind the counter – former one of the best students in the class, later university graduate with diploma and knowledge of several foreign languages - and now I work as an ordinary sales consultant, carrying heavy home appliances, actually working for a penny; my duties also included snow sweeping in winter, which I thought was pretty embarrassing as well and I liked “to drown” such moments with a cigarette because I believed that it helped me to become different, more “cool” in that situation, although only for a moment. Also I was afraid to be noticed by one of the above-mentioned teachers, former classmates or friends of my parents while doing such “embarrassing” to my mind work.
I was afraid to be noticed, while working at the same time in a public place – a store. Nonsense. But understanding that something was wrong did not come to my mind, because when I was 23 I often spent free time at friends’ party with a drink. The little money I earned were also basically going for it. It was living one day like the last one. And when there came some doubts about irrationality and the fact that it is necessary to change something because the water does not flow under the lying stone, then were showing up muffled thoughts – it’s all temporary; I work not only as a seller, but in the salon of the advanced mobile operator; I learn new skills here. It was either shameful to admit my work to single-group, friends from other cities, or my story was somehow decorated. While many ex group mates were somewhere abroad, I was in my small town, from which I could not escape physically, because I could not escape it in my head, in my mind and in my thoughts at first. And this was a part of my life test because you cannot escape from yourself and the best though not an easy option was to learn to live contrary to my fears and complexes in my small town where almost everyone knows each other or rather to get rid of these fears and complexes.
Another important factor that oppressed my soul was also an attempt to respond to the perceptions of my parents and relatives about me, which basically did not coincide with what I felt inside. I wanted to go to study for a journalist, I had desire to write and create. As an expression of that at school age, I personally made my own FM band radio station from a low-power radio microphone, amplifier and antenna, which I constructed and as the result my illegal radio station covered a half of our town. In addition to the transmitter, I made an amplifier of sound from the old cassette player and connected the microphone to it. Then I began to express creativity – on tape recorder I recorded popur songs, – all without a computer and access to the Internet – and I would say it came out pretty well. With the girls and boys from the yard we made an improvised studio where we were recording news and broadcasting. I was 13 at that time. Our radio broadcasted for several weeks and we did not get cut, but then summer holidays ended and later on transmitter got broken.
In continuation of the fact that I wanted to be a journalist speaks for itself another fact. Later, in the computer science classes, I developed a layout of the newspaper and I dreamed of having my own newspaper or at least writing articles which brought me incredible satisfaction – another expression of what I would like to do. Since childhood I was curious to read newspapers, especially the ones with color. In a deeper childhood I loved to read books, especially books about traveling and then I tried to write my own book – I was 8 or 9 years old at that time. I wrote my fables in a notebook. Then the parents from somewhere brought home a semi-working typewriter, but it was difficult to print on it and the print ribbon was not of good quality and I painted it with the black flamist, because it was dry, but it did not really help. That’s how during my school years all my dedication to creativity was “trashed”, because times were heavy – 90’s, lack of money. We barely survived and I am thankful to my family and I thank my parents that they were able to provide me good education. For readers I will notice that I live in Ukraine and in the 90’s after collapse of Soviet Union people were struggling to survive and that was at times of my childhood.
However, I did not study journalism at the University; I did not even try, because it was too expensive, so I chose a compromise – foreign languages and philology. But the desire to create never left me. After 1st year of University I entered Canadian exchange program, I learned how to create websites on free hosting and I created the first news site of my town. It was imperfect, but so my wishes for journalism and creativity were embodied. After finishing my studies and already working in the store, I again took up my own – the creation of a website, but already website of Internet radio. The site has been created, I learned how to create banners and was interested in audio transmission technologies. Online Radio was created and worked on the Internet. It had listeners in the town and even beyond in other countries. But that was a pleasure rather for the soul, which did not bring earnings and could not last for long. The plus I got – was the knowledge of ways of earning money on the Internet, including contextual advertising, my first attempts and errors. And here the fate plunged a new job – a vacancy in a bank.
The work in the bank was high-paying, I was earning several times more than before in the store. At the same time I was simultaneously engaged in connecting customers to the Internet during the evenings after work in bank. Work in the bank gave me good money. However, the work itself did not satisfy me. In my spare time I was equally interested in earning money on the Internet and weighed the point that I was best suited for creating websites. I started to learn how to create sites professionally. Having the money from work in a bank now I could buy a paid hosting and a domain. I learned the details of Internet earnings and development of sites. I learned to create quite good templates for sites. At that time, it pulled me back to create a news site of my town, but this time it was already made professionally – once again the old childhood dream of writing and creating worked.
I started experimenting and using language skills to create sites for English speaking audiences – it was interesting. Here I gained the first serious profit which, although, was 6 times smaller than I had in a bank, but I dreamed of having my own office, writing articles there for my sites, developing new ideas and rejoicing in it. But the earnings were still small and I worked on my sites chaotically paying very little time to it. The work in bank became just unbearable. We were required to work for 12 hours in a cold building in the winter it was from -2 to +2 Celsius and in the summer it was super hot – up to 35 Celsius. They set huge plans for the issuance of loans and often called on a corporate phone speaking with humiliating tone and words and shouted – this is Ukraine.
Somehow I even shuddered during the holidays on the sea when I heard the standard “Nokia” call and after I resigned from the bank even a few months later I was afraid of this tone melody without exaggeration – the same tone I had on my cell phone at work. Also, the bank deducted money from salary for bad copies (by the way made on its own equipment), forged various fines, demanded for personal funds of the workers to advertise in the local newspaper. They required to go around populated areas and adhere there with pillars. In a word, the work was nervous and in constant stress, so often in the evening I went for a beer and sometimes something “stronger”. So the nervous system began to oppress even more – from work, from alcohol and from hopelessness – I consulted with my parents, relatives, saying that I want to leave the bank, but I was holding a high salary and my parents also said where would I go if I resign, where I would still find such well paid work – it was actually truth as I earned 4-5 times bigger salary than average in the country – about $600 per month.
I was weak-willed, I did not try to change anything, I felt sorry for myself instead of taking everything in my own hands, thinking over what I really want from life, what I want to do, making plan for several months ahead, prepare ways to retreat from bank and start doing what I want. So every day I came to a compromise with myself and often this “compromise” was “wiped” with alcohol after work in attempt to escape from reality, because the normal person with strong willpower simply would not stand all those mockery and humiliation at work and I did not have my own strong will. I did not have it since school till that time and always “was followed” by friends with stronger character; thank God friends were almost always moderate and I did not fall into any sort of bad company.
Of course, not every day, but pretty often beer was present in my life and once a week – a party with strong drinks. So I tormented myself for almost 3 years. Already after first year of such work in bank and such lifestyle I went to the sea during vacation and there were many unfavorable factors – heat, alcohol, climate change – so when I was riding a bus back home, I felt the first light signs of panic attack – a slight numbness of the face and an unpleasant anxiety that was lasting about half an hour. I did not pay attention to it as I didn’t even know about existence of anxiety and panic attacks. The first serious and such terrible panic attack happened to me half a year later.
Summarizing, I will say major reason which caused panic attacks in the future is dissatisfaction with myself and doing things which you are not eager to do under different explanations – high salary, no other way out, opinion of others.
The second reason is, actually, opinion of others. We often try to correspond other people’s opinion, hopes, and thoughts. This is wrong to do as you have your own life, your own thoughts and you know better what you want from life – just let it go. Don’t be afraid.
The third reason often is weak will power and low self esteem. The conflict arises when we understand that what we are doing is wrong, but we do not have enough will to stop this and start changing our life. We justify ourselves with imaginary reasons, but it does not help as subconsciously we still know the truth and if we do not release it we suffer.
All the above reasons and factors cause constant stress. Nervous system is tensed all the time. Imagine if you had some light form of flue for 2 or 3 years. It all exhausts your body and nervous system. Imagine you get constant low power electric shock all the time and when you drink alcohol or use pills you only reduce the power or turn it off for short period of time, but don’t unplug it from the socket and after some time electric shock gets higher power voltage to compensate its absence during last few hours. Doesn’t it the same as you drink alcohol to reduce panic attack and the next day have extra strong panic attack when having hangover?
Your nervous system is constantly tensed and when it happens some extra strong influence like family tragedy, quarrels at work or alcohol the first panic attack occurs.
I hope now you are able to distinguish what precede panic attacks happening. If to eliminate real reasons in time there is high probability panic attacks would never happen.